This phrase has been rattling around in my brain for the last few weeks, ever since I had to do some baseboard painting in the house we’re moving into. I had cleaned the baseboards but the years had not been kind to them and they looked awful. Paint would remedy that! Paint, like love, can cover a multitude of sins.
I got to thinking about paint being an illustration of love. When Jesus said “love one another,” telling the disciples this was his commandment to them, (not a suggestion or a nice idea), he knew we’d need to do this above all else. He also knew that love, the full-orbed love of God that he shed abroad in our hearts by his indwelling Spirit, fulfills God’s law.
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
The love of God didn’t supplant the Law of God, it fulfilled it.
It is so easy for us to see the faults in others, isn’t it? The accumulation of years of grime and dust and scuffs and scrapes, figuratively speaking, is right there for all to see. But I am the other person to someone else, and they can see my faults just as easily as I can see theirs.
I am reminded of the parable of the speck in my brother’s eye that I’d sure like to remove, and the log Jesus said is in my own eye that I am all too blind to (Matthew 7:3-5). Love is merciful. I want mercy shown to me. I need to show the same to others.
As Jesus’ followers, we are “clean,” cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, as Jesus told Peter when he went to wash his feet (John 13:5-15), so we don’t need a bath but we do need our feet washed. We need the love from others that “covers a multitude of sins.”
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1, 2, emphasis added).
The law of Christ is love. The love of God is gentle; God has dealt with us gently. I want to be treated gently and am so grateful for God’s kindness and mercy. Likewise, I need to treat others gently, and guard my own heart from temptation.
“‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’… For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions “(Matthew 6:12-14).
Love is forgiving. I want and need forgiveness from God. I must forgive others.
In the past I always read the following verses as a teaching on prayer (the familiar ask, seek, knock passage), which it is, but it is also part of Jesus’ lesson on God’s goodness to us and how we are to imitate our heavenly Father in the way we treat others. Note the example of God’s goodness in the middle verses and the “therefore” in the last verse.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:7-12, emphasis added).
Love is the fulfillment of God’s Law. Doing good to others is love in action.
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:7, 8, emphasis added).
Paint is like love. I dip the brush into the paint and spread it over those dings and scuffs and scrapes. They disappear. We all need a good coat of paint now and then, metaphorically speaking. We all need to love one another, all the time.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Scriptures taken from https://www.biblegateway.com .